Planning permission for new assessment centre for people sleeping rough

Cheshire West and Chester Council’s partner forfutures has secured planning permission to open a new assessment and support centre for people who find themselves with no roof over their head in the borough.

The assessment and support facility will be based on the ground floor at Hamilton House on Hamilton Place in Chester and is due to be open later this month.

The centre will be staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week, by specialist housing and support teams. It will provide services to rough sleepers where they can be assessed by trained staff, an appropriate support package identified and they will be offered assistance to enable them to move to suitable accommodation in the borough.

Councillor Angela Claydon, Cabinet Member for Housing, said: “People who are sleeping rough often have a mix of complex needs and one person may require a different type of support to another. The specialists at the centre will be able to identify the right support for each person and then be able to help them accordingly.

“The Council, our partners at Outside In and Forfutures have access to a range of resources to help address each individual’s needs. The new centre will provide a vital service and help the Council and our partners achieve our aim of ending rough sleeping in our borough.”

Janet Lawton, Strategic Homeless Lead at Forfutures, said: “This new centre will play an important part in our work to support people experiencing homelessness.

“It will enable us to engage anyone presenting at the centre in a one-to-one assessment of their needs and put in place a plan of practical support to empower them to start their journey to move away from a life on the streets and into a safe and secure home.”

In addition to Forfutures working from the centre, it is intended that third sector will work there in a collective effort to address all issue in a holistic way.

‘Outside In’ is a local collective of charities, voluntary groups, faith groups, businesses, Forfutures, Turning Point, Cheshire West and Chester Council, CH1 Chester BID and Cheshire Police are all working together to support people sleeping rough.

Simon Groom, Chair of Outside In, said: “This is great news and comes as a result of joint-working across the borough. Outside In is pleased to support the concept of an Assessment Centre at Hamilton House and we will ensure that our group support and challenge practices and services as appropriate, to ensure a fair and comprehensive offering to our homeless clients.”

The centre is one of only 11 similar schemes across the country being funded by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government. The Hamilton House Assessment centre is part of the Governments Rapid Rehousing Pathway.